July 16, 2008

Not Quite Lord of the Rings

Up until fairly recently, I was pretty proud of the fact I've never had any real enemies. Oh sure, I've encountered plenty of things that annoy me, and I've disagreed and argued with people who just don't get me, man.

But, I've never really had anything or anyone I could categorize as a true enemy, something I despise with every fiber of my being. And, honestly, after 33 years of existence on this rocky orb we call earth, I had generally started to believe I would somehow, magically, manage to live my life without ever encountering a life-altering nemesis.

Then, a few months ago, two quiet, unassuming devices crept into my existence that have since begun haunting my dreams, intruding on my most peaceful of thoughts and disturbing me at times when I least expect it.

For those of you who may not know, I've been training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu now for just over three years, which is a grappling form of self-defense martial art that's becoming increasingly popular thanks to fighting venues like the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and mixed martial arts (MMA) events.

Over the years, I've become accustomed to the different types of training, exercise and drills associated with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu workouts, with the main instructor occasionally introducing new challenges and workout regimens designed to push the students just a little bit further. And, overall, I've been fine with most of the training changes and new introductions.

And then the instructor went and introduced gymnastics rings into the mix. I have to be honest: I never really thought that much about gymnastics rings; they just didn't factor into my daily musings very often, which is to say "never."

Now, however, I think about gymnastics rings on an almost daily basis, and my thoughts mostly center around how much I absolutely hate gymnastics rings. Gymnastics rings have become my first-ever real, life-altering enemy.

The primary problem I have with gymnastics rings is that they require arm strength, which I think is basically a form of discrimination against people like me, who have never had, nor likely ever will, have much in the way of arm strength. I have fairly long arms, but thanks to a lifelong agreement between myself and weights—which states the weights have a right to remain stationary so long as I agree not to lift them—my long arms consist of only the amount of muscle required to operate a computer keyboard, and to lift a fork laden with food from a plate to my mouth. My arms, in other words, are not equipped
for the muscular beefiness gymnastics rings require.

In addition, gymnastics rings require balance which, to me, is just as unfair as the arm strength clause. These combined requirements, coupled with my complete lack of either, have led to a deeply held dread of gymnastics rings. I hate them. I really, really HATE them.

There's a part of me that would both love and hate to see, as an outside observer, what I look like trying to exercise on gymnastics rings. It doesn't matter whether I'm attempting dips, leg lifts or pull-ups on gymnastics rings: it all simply must look equally pathetic.

First off, the combined requirements of arm strength and balance—which, again, neither of which I have much of—means that I shake like a naked man in a snow bank while trying to hold myself up on gymnastics rings. That would be bad enough if I were enduring the torture alone, but there's usually an entire gym full of fellow students watching me undergo what must look like an epileptic seizure as I try to simply balance AND perform repeated dips. And that's only IF I can get up on the danged things to begin with (which sometimes
requires a boost from another student, which is embarrassing in its own right).

I never really thought I'd be unfortunate enough to have such a powerful enemy, let along an enemy that is, in fact, two inanimate, circular objects, but gymnastics rings are apparently more than up to the task.

I suppose it could be worse; at least my enemy isn't a balance beam. . .

Posted by Ryan at July 16, 2008 12:41 PM | TrackBack
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